Saturday, November 05, 2022

Local Cincinnati Area Races to Follow on Election Night

Beyond turnout in Hamilton County, there are several local elections to follow this Tuesday on Election Night that I will be intently watching.  Not all of these will be nail biting cliffhangers, but they will have elements and details that can give evidence on how 21st century politics are working here in Hamilton County, Ohio.

  1. OH-1 Landsman (D) vs. Chabot (R): This is of course the most interesting race in the area.  This Republican gerrymandered district is in violation of the Ohio Constitution, but in the effort to hide their power grab they made this district very close to a Toss-up.  Republicans claim this is a Dem+2 district, but that is just not true.  This is at best maybe a Dem+.05 based on historical results.  The strong Conservative Western HamCo was replaced with the more moderated Eastern HamCo and ALL of the City.  This gives an advantage to the Dem, but that advantages assumes people vote in reasonable numbers.  If turnout is strong, close to that of 2018, this should be a narrow win for the Dem.  However, since this is such a closely divided district, a small shift in turnout could make it an even narrower win for the Republican.  This race could go late into night without a declared winner, but the writing could be on the wall as the suburbs should report earlier than the city proper.
  2. Hamilton County Commissioner Dumas (D) vs Smitherman vs O'Neill (R):  This race is going to be very interesting, but not because there is much doubt as to who will win.  With a Three-Way race, the Democratic candidate should be able to win.  The interesting part will be how the two Republican candidates, Smitherman and O'Neill perform.  Only one will be marked as a Republican and that is what makes this case interesting.  Will Party ID be enough for O'Neill to get 2nd place or will Smitherman's targeted marketing work to get a large number of Republican voters for him to get 2nd place.  Also, the other situation to watch, will it be a close 1-2 race and distant 3rd or will the 2nd and 3rd each get larger chunks.  There will have to be a complete disaster in HamCo for Dems to lose this race, that is not impossible, however there is no local evidence to suggests that Dems turnout has cratered.  The Dem candidate likely won't get over 50%, but it would be somewhat surprising for either Republican to break 40%. Also, I will be watching this race since I am hoping Smitherman loses big time and this becomes the last we see of him in local politics.
  3. Hamilton County Auditor: Brigid Kelly (D) vs. Tom Brinkman (R):  Tom Brinkman is someone everyone should find it easy to root against.  He's a hardcore right wing fascist and has been way longer than the Trumpists were even a glint in Steve Bannon's eye.  Brinkman does not appear to have much of a ground campaign going.  Like his failed campaign for Cincinnati City Council last year, he appears to be phoning it in.  I'd surmise he ran just in case there was some 100 year flood of a Republican wave in Hamilton County.  He's not likely to see that this Tuesday and is running against a very organized and solid Dem candidate.  In this race I'm interested in how much it goes with the partisan breakdown like other races or does it stand out.
  4. Hamilton County Clerk of Courts: Pavan Parikh (D) vs. Steven Goodin (R):Among the county wide offices on the ballot in 2022, this one could be the most competitive, at least on paper.  Goodin has a broader appeal and name recognition in the City and amongst moderates. Parikh has the incumbency advantage, but as an appointee, having not been elected before.  Goodin ran for Cincinnati City Council last fall and did not place well (14th). Steve Goodin is capable of running a centrist race, but he's gone instead with a confrontational race, picking Social Media fights and going negative suggesting controversies. Parikh is running with the Democratic slate and as a team, that unit did amazingly well in the City in 2021.  If it carries into the county as well, he should do well.
I have strong feeling, "vibes" as the term has been used this cycle among the political junkie crowd, about this year's election.  I can't tell you anything valuable about the statewide races or how the Congressional races will add up.  Locally, however, I feel like there is NOT going to be a big "Republican Wave."  Locally that would mean Republican turnout surges and Democratic Turnout reduces.  I would easily bet a $100 that it won't happen.  Without that Red Wave, Republicans only have a couple of seats in the county that are close enough and divided up enough to win, assuming turnout "vibes."

On election night, the thing to watch is what I call the "Flop."  That's the first output by the Board of Elections that shows the votes from Absentee/Early voting.  By that point, real-time Turnout should be published as well, so we'll be able to judge if Early Absentee/Early voting is going to be an indicator of the races or will it be segmented, like 2020, which means we'll have to see how vote starts to come in from election day to get the first writing on the wall moment to give an indication of how the night will go.  I'll be covering turnout all day on Tuesday, so look for a Blog post and social media posts with updates. Good luck to the candidates and be sure to vote!

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